App Acceleration Not a Pipe Dream

Networks with the fastest servers or the biggest bandwidth pipes don't necessarily deliver any given application the fastest anymore. New application acceleration appliances and services hit the market recently, with vendors shooting right at faster application delivery.
Networks with the fastest servers or the biggest bandwidth pipes don't necessarily deliver any given application the fastest anymore. New application acceleration appliances and services hit the market recently, with vendors shooting right at faster application delivery.

Citrix is pushing its fastest-ever appliance while Juniper is pronouncing its vision and introducing a new management tool. Cisco jumped the gun a bit and announced its Application Control Engine (ACE) last month.

Then there is the number of smaller vendors vying for their own pieces, including Crescendo, which claims that it is the first company to address application multi-tier acceleration.

Crescendo's ALP (Application Layer Processing) targets application acceleration inside the data center by intelligently accelerating the application flow between all tiers.

Hooman Beheshti, vice president of technology at Crescendo, explained that most acceleration approaches physically sit in front of the front-most tier of the application, usually the Web tier.

As such, enterprises have been concentrating on performance bottlenecks from the edge of the network outbound. Content compression, TCP optimization, caching, and load balancing are examples of functionality that helps deliver content once it's generated.

But there is a need for more than just a Web tier of acceleration.

Beheshti said that applications are multi-tiered entities with application logic and database components often sitting behind the Web tier. Content is generated through processing across every application tier.

But while existing application acceleration solutions have addressed the processing time a bit by performing offload functionality for the Web tier, Beheshti said they don't address performance bottlenecks in the back-end processing tiers.

"ALP is the first technology to actually control request admission, queue requests to prevent application overload, reschedule heavy requests and intelligently reschedule them using definitions created by the Crescendo Rule Engine (CRE)," Beheshti said.

ALP is not without its barriers though, most of which by Beheshti's own admission reside within the deploying company.

He said that in order to optimally accelerate the application, there needs to be a certain level of communication between the network group and the applications group.

"This will take communication with the people writing the applications," Beheshti said. "Historically, there has not been perfect communications between those corporate groups. We are seeing those barriers come down steadily."

Juniper Networks has its own aggressive application acceleration vision.

A key part of that vision involves not just accelerating application delivery but actually measuring and monitoring the system used to perform the acceleration.

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